255 lbs of Athlete

Carrying this much around is hard, but doable

Coming out of the water

This may come as a shock to people, but I'm a big guy. I'm not morbidly obese, but on a scale of skinny to fat, I'm squrely in the fat category. At 255 lbs, most of which is cushion, rather than muscle, I have to work extra hard to swim efficiently through the water, to get my road bike up the hills and to do my best to run without hurting my knees and back.

In Team in Training we have teams of people that have more in common with my body shape, meaning extra pounds and rounder corners, than they do to professional triathletes. It makes sense; we are coming together to fight cancer, no one here thinks of themselves as elite athletes. The odd part is that the bigger you are, the slower you're going to be and the more energy it's going to take you. In the most recent Lavaman I did in 2017, my finishing time for the race was approximately 4 hours. My swim time alone was 37 minutes of that time. The course record for the swim is 18 minutes. The elite athletes are finishing their bike ride in 45 minutes or less and getting their entire run done in 30 minutes. That means that while these people are fast, they are not really doing an endurance event like I am doing. Compare 1 hour and 20 minute finish times to mine and us bigger athletes are doing the exact same course, but taking way longer to do it.

And I'm not saying this to make myself feel better for being a shitty athlete, or to diminish from the accomplishments of elite athletes, just to demonstrate that this all feels really unbalanced. I'm bigger and struggle with weight constantly. Because I'm bigger, I can't run because it compresses disks in my back or hurts my knees. But to lose the weight, I need to be doing more of these exercises which burn a ton of calories (and obviously eat less food and better food). I have to ride the same bike route as them, but peddling 255lbs up a 2 mile long incline takes waaaaay more effort and energy than someone who is lean and wirey and weights 120lbs. There are people who fret about knocking off a few ounces from their bike weight. I doubt I'll ever notice a few ounces added or taken away, it's chump change compared to what I am regularly carting around.

So how do I feel about being overweight? Well, that's tough to explain. I don't want to be one of those self hating fat people who hates their body. I'm pretty pragmatic and know that I only have the body I have and I can't hate it because I don't get another one. That said, there are things about my body that I know could be better. I would like to have less of a belly. Why? well, getting into an aero tuck position on the bike is much easier when you don't have a belly to contend with. I'd like bigger arms and shoulders. Why? Those are the muscles that propell me through the water. There are definitely improvements to be made. I will never be a fat apologist or freedom fighter. I know first hand the ravages that being overweight does to a body, to my body. From hypertension, high blood pressure, fatty liver, breathing problems, sleep apnea, enlarged heart, low testosterone, man boobs. These are all conditions that have a link to obesity. So I'm never going to say that I can be healthy and fat at the same time. The two just don't add up. And you know what? I'm OK with that. It's no one elses business if I'm healthy, it's no ones business if I have extra weight. The only person who should be concerned is me. Because the only person that can do something about it is me.

So as a fat person I have some choices to make. Some of which I am equipped to handle, like getting to practice on Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings, and other choices I'm ill equiped to handle, like eating a proper diet that allows me to lose weight. Yes, everyone can go online to see what they should be eating, but the reality is that eating for some is a stress reliever, it relieves depression, it is a social thing, they have busy schedules and eating on the go is their only option.

My weight is mostly tied to my diet. I have tremendous success when I track my calories or eat a low/no meat diet full of fresh veggies, fruits and healthy whole grains. I have about 2 months until my upcoming race and I am determined to be down about 20 lbs by then. I'll be posting a blog entry every week with progress and a food diary until then. I hope I can get down to 235 by then. It would be make this race a lot easier and set me up for my ALC race in June.

Thanks to everyone who supported me by buying raffle tickets or by donating directly to my fundraising page. Every dollar saves lives.

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